Monday, March 16, 2009

Oscars Update: The Semiotics of Celluloid

I've been very busy with work, but I wanted to do an Oscar follow-up. Esoteric themes seem to multiplying in Hollywood at an astonishing rate, and the follow-up projects we see this year's winners involved in reflect this trend.

Slumdog Millionaire
star Dev Patel is slated to star in M. Night Shayamalan's live-action adaptation of The Last Airbender, which is rife with mystical and occult themes (like nearly everything else on kids TV these days).

Sean Penn and Brad Pitt are slated for an upcoming film called The Tree of Life. It's Zechariah Sitchin's contention that the Tree of Life we see in ancient Mesopotamian art is actually a corrupted depiction of a DNA helix. Speaking of which, there's also the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah, but has little visual connection to DNA.

After The Reader, Kate Winslet starred with Leonardo Di Caprio in domestic melodrama Revolutionary Road. DeCaprio is reportedly attached to Christopher Nolan's mysterious project Inception, which is described as "a contemporary sci-fi actioner set within the architecture of the mind." Hmmm. Winslet is not attached currently to any announced projects, but after Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind she doesn't need to be.

Heath Ledger's next and last film is the occult extravaganza The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Robert Downey, Jr. (who actually deserved the award and would have won in a landslide had not Ledger died) has full slate of heroics ahead, playing Sherlock Homes as well as Iron Man in two different pictures.

Penelope Cruz will be in a CGI film with Nic Cage and will also portray a character named "Magdalena." For the semiotic hat-trick she'll be also be in a film called Nine.

Best Director Danny Boyle actually had two films premiere in 2008. One was Slumdog Millionaire, the other was Alien Love Triangle, which starred Kenneth Branagh, Courtney Cox and Heather ("Hathor") Graham. In the film Branagh plays a scientist whose wife is in fact a genderbending, green-skinned male alien (are there any other kind, really?). Originally made in 2002, don't be surprised if this re-emerges as a feature sometime in the future.

As discussed earlier Boyle's previous film was Sunshine, a 2001-analog in which the Sun is resurrected. Pretty hardcore in the symbolic realm, to be sure.

Benjamin Button director David Fincher had previously directed Zodiac, the poster for which made me wonder if there is in fact some kind of Stargate symbolism connected to the Golden Gate Bridge (besides this, I mean). His next project is a film tie-in to Heavy Metal. Enki Bilal's Immortel Ad Vitam might seem to make any further adaptation of Heavy Metal redundant. It certainly makes the depressing Heavy Metal cartoon from 1980 redundant. More on Immortel in the near future.

WALL-E director Andrew Stanton is attached to a planned film version of Edgar Rice Burrough's occult superhero John Carter of Mars, which was Jack Parsons' favorite pulp character.

Speaking of the Oscars, I had a "When Mythworlds Collide" moment watching How to Lose Friends and ALIENate People when I saw Simon Pegg, Megan Fox and Gillian Anderson sit down to dinner. Pegg is slated for the new Star Trek remake as Scottie, Fox will be in the afore-mentioned Transformers sequel, which reportedly borrows heavily from the ancient astronaut storyline in The X-Files.

In the film, Fox's character wins an Apollo, obviously modeled on the Oscars. What caught my eye is that Apollo is not modeled on any version of Apollo I've ever seen, but on AT&T's Golden Boy, himself an incarnation of Mithras. Fascinating choice if imagery there, which surely went over the heads of the handful of people who saw the film. But par for the course in this reality paradigm we find ourselves immersed in.

Speaking of which, you may be wondering where all this Mithras stuff is coming from. Well, we'll be looking into that very soon and I think it will tie everything together.